The Last Black Man in San Francisco

The Last Black Man in San Francisco ★★★½

When The Last Black Man in San Francisco begins I truly had no idea what to make of it: haz-mat suits and preachers of the end of times, as well as our main characters skating down the road while this was all happening. Was this actually some sort of sci-fi film and I had no idea? Then our lead character Jimmie goes to a wealthy neighborhood and starts fixing it up before its owners show up and throw croissants at him. What?

Turns out the film is actually quite nuanced and mellows out past this point and that the house was actually built by Jimmie's grandfather before it changed hands, and Jimmie is looking to maintain it if not reacquire it. What follows is a film that unfolds topics of gentrification, black identity, and how capitalism sucks.

"You see Jimmie, you never really own shit."

Something particularly interesting is a moment when Jimmie is on a bus and two transplants talk about how much the city sucks. Jimmie asks them why they are here, and if they even love San Francisco. This is something that's easy to apply to many cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc.

Oddly enough, I found this applied to a small-town I lived in; the majority of students at my middle-of-nowhere-Ohio college were either from the East Coast or West Coast and many talked about how much they hated living there, how much they hated Ohio and the townies, and hated how there was nothing to do compared to living in Brooklyn or the Bay area in San Francisco; there's no way to verify this, but my guess is that they might be the same people who'd be upset at others hating on their home city.

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